𝐹𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 Blood Eagle

When an Entomophthora spore lands on a fly, it grows into the insect’s body and begins devouring it alive, consuming the fat first and leaving vital organs till last. When the fly is nearly spent, the fungus compels it to do three things. First, it climbs to a high point. Next, it extends its mouth as if to lap up some food, but becomes stuck to its perch thanks to a glue that the fungus produces. Finally, it lifts its wings like a fancy sports car raising its doors. This is how the fly dies: innards consumed, face stuck, and wings out of the way.

The fungus now pushes long tubes through the back of its dead host. Each tube is a cannon, which shoots out fungal spores at up to 21 miles per hour. The spores rain down on other passing flies, and new cycles of death and puppeteering begin.

— from “Is This Fungus Using a Virus To Control An Animal’s Mind?” by Ed Young in The Atlantic